Wrongful Dismissal: Can my Boss Fire me During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
November 16, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has made the employment situation a lot harder for many people, both employers and employees. You may be worried that your employer might fire you, but is it an actual possibility?

When Can’t an Employer Fire You?

As long as you are willing and presenting yourself for work, you can’t be fired for anything related to Coronavirus. In the event that you develop symptoms or anyone in your household does, you will, of course, need to self-isolate. Doing so, however, for the advised period of fourteen days should be covered as sick leave and paid as such.

The advice is now for employees to work from home wherever possible. This is not legally enforceable, however, as there are no set definitions of what are “necessary” conditions to go into your workplace. If you have a more practical job, or productivity has suffered during home working, they may insist you go into your workplace. They have a duty of care to you and your colleagues, however, to make sure your workplace is as safe as possible. If you have any doubts about the cleanliness of your workplace, or that appropriate practices have not been put in places, such as masks and social distancing, make your worries known. Discuss it with your boss and ensure that appropriate measures are established to keep you and your colleagues safe.

Is your Job Secure?

Your boss can’t fire you for self-isolating if you have reasonable grounds to do so. It’s important to remember, however, that the economy has taken an enormous hit as a result of lockdowns and other factors. That means many businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. The Government is introducing various schemes to attempt to mitigate this and keep people in work, such as the furlough scheme, but there is only so much help and assistance available.

That means your employer may still seek to make you redundant, or there is a risk that the business itself may enter administration. Your employer must discuss this with you, however. They can’t simply dismiss you for no reason. If you have turned up for work and are ready and willing to work, they have no reasonable grounds to fire you.

If you do find yourself terminated, however, and you feel that it was unlawful, you can seek professional assistance from the friendly and experienced team at Bowsers Solicitors to help get your case heard.

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